tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN July 9, 2015 4:00am-6:01am EDT
beautiful white persian cat. when she was about 5 years old, she drew a picture of that white cat. and in her picture i realized that white cat had a pink nose and the insides of its ears were pink. and one of its eyes were blue and one was green. that was great detail i had not noticed before until she brought it to my attention. the thoughts and anticipation of this debate today made me take an extremely close look at that memorial memorial. and the names of the people that were assigned to create that memorial. those people did an excellent job. not just in the detail, but in the depiction of african-american heritage and history from the beginning of
this state and an unfortunate thing called slavery to today. as i moved around, i saw the great detail. and then i got to the first regiment. of u.s. volunteers. and the first regiment of u.s. volunteers were freed black men that fought for the 54th massachusetts. and they fought the first south carolina regiment, fought here in this state. and fought honorably. that's a part of the history of this state.
just like my ancestors did i talked about earlier, that fought for this state. and if you've seen the movie "glory," which i have many times, that's what's depicted in a particular section of that memorial. i didn't see danny glover there but i saw the faces of people that looked familiar. in that monument ladies and gentlemen, there is a soldier a standard bearer which was very important during the times that these battles were fought. that's how people knew where the
enemy was and where their friends were. they didn't have radios and mass communication. they had to move back and forth by using flag. and the first regimental flag of south carolina's infantry which was attached to the 54th massachusetts, the standard bearer is carrying that. it is in bronze. it is the u.s. version -- or the union version of a battle flag. you know what? i respect that very deeply. i did not find it offensive. and i'm not going to go and say
that the current battle flag flying on the state house grounds on the confederate side is not offensive because i said earlier, it was abductive and used by hate groups to recognize that. what this amendment does is it makes a bronze plate of the first south carolina volunteer ss, or the confederacy, that replaces -- or that is placed where the current flag and memorial is. the history of that particular flag, that first regimental flag, is written in our rotunda.
it's engraved on a scroll beside the ceremonial speaker's office. it looks like the state flag. except that it has a wreath around it. or it has a wreath around the palmetitry talking about those standard bearers. five south carolinians in the first 15 minutes of a battle failed carrying that flag. all of them were under the age of 18. all of them under the age of 18. think about that. life snuffed out at 16 years old. in combat, carrying the flag. that regimental battle flag, as i said has never been abducted
by any hate group. this amendment simply calls for it to be put in bronze and placed outside the state house grounds -- on the state house grounds. i think that's reasonable. i don't think that's an unreasonable request. i am so glad that we have moved past that time in history -- >> sorry mr. pitts your ten minutes has expired. taken second ten minutes. >> but we've talked about history up here today. and history's not always pleasant. history's not always roses. but it's our history. it's our collective history.
we admit to the bad part of our history. we brag about the good part and we learn from all of it. but if we try to hide our history, the unfortunate facts that show throughout history is, you have a tendency to repeat it. and the stupidity of it. and loney josey and others that have served in the military here, i wish for the time when wars were no more. young men going off to fight and die for decisions made by people who never were in the military.
sometimes actually avoided the military. but make decisions to send young men and young women today -- don't let me be remiss -- off to die in battle. the first woman to die in combat was a graduate of the citadel. the first woman to die in combat was from grainville, south carolina. she was a helicopter pilot. she was a young white woman. the second one to die in combat, to my knowledge, was a young black female, also from south carolina and a citadel graduate. if i'm wrong, my research fails me.
but that's what i read in the past few days looking at different things in the history of our state. there was times where our country never would have sent -- i have a theory that i won't get into today, but i think that if you did it properly, a regiment of females with four companies would be the most deadly thing you could send into the enemy. i might talk about it to some of you individually about my theory on that later. but they have a tendency to not all be united at times.
and if you -- if you had them on one, two three and four companies and sent one on them on point the first week one the second week one the third week and once the fourth week if you timed that properly you would have a fighting force that i certainly wouldn't want to have to face. because it would be a deadly fighting force. folks, back to the point. i'm asking for bronze, for bronze. a display of one regimental flag and the other regimental flag that's already displayed in bronze. that's exactly what this
amendment does. i personally am proud of both of those history because they were all south carolinians. i'm not proud of the fact that they had to fight each other. most of you understand what the rest of the world has found out in one time or another, that when you face america's forces in arms, it's not a pleasant thing to do. america's forces don't lose often. we send good soldiers into the field. most bloody war in history is when americans went against americans. there were more americans died
in one battle during that particular war than died in all of our other wars individually. there were i believe, 22,000 south carolinians killed in that particular war. there were battles that come up called the bloody angle which was at appomatix. i won't get into all the battles, but this particular battle flag was carried in most of them. and, again, as i said, i'm asking simply for the bronze plaque that mimics another bronze that's currently on the state house grounds. with that, mr. speaker i will relinquish the podium.
>> pending question is the adoption of amendment 30. yes, sir. mr. white is recognized to speak on the amendment. representative white. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i appreciate the efforts of my good friend, mike pitts. but i really want to sit at my desk. i don't get up here and speak much. i've gone around. i've spoke to ms. cobb-hunter and others. and after the original vote a couple weeks ago from the anderson delegation talking about would we be discussing this issue but we come back and discuss it or not, and we -- i voted to the point of, let some time pass. ms. cobb-hunter, she discussed that and she says strike while the iron is hot. that is true. but also to the point of mourning the nine that passed, and but during those times
watching to how we got to where we are mr. pitts and i sit and have a lot of conversations a lot of times. we're duck blind buddies. we do a lot of hunting together. but a lot of what we have done as south carolinians, what we have done as elected officials, is the right thing. we do it civilly. everything that's driving a lot of this debate is from the outside forces. much back to what mr. pitts is talking about the war of northern aggression. some folks say there was nothing civil about a war, and it wasn't. i am originally from abbiville county. mr. gagnon represents all of my family, which fought in the war of northern aggression. as a matter of fact, i told some that my great great great, great grandfather, bill y was the last living confederate soldier in abbiville county. he passed away in 1941.
had the wonderful experiences of having the ladies mr. pitts outlive the men. and my grandmothers would all tell me stories about my ancestors and what they did in the war, how difficult it was. we were poor originally from the state of georgia. and mr. pitts got up and spoke earlier to it. it was the point of communication where not like today, social media, where we're getting threats from outside forces. my phone -- my wife called me this morning and said she had a call at 10:30 last night at my house. there are other folks in other time zones that don't respect the fact that we're sleeping whenever they start calling. but anyway, i -- but that is the world we live in. i think sometimes we have too much out there on the internet and the web where we live where we live, our children, date of
births. way too much information people can search. back in that era it was a good time and people told you that, mr. hostages, you're being invaded invaded, pushing down your rights and they grabbed their guns and went. they were blacksmiths. grand daddy billy replaced his father. and searching my heritage, which i like history and i believe heritage, and i think that's what a lot of us on the side of the heritage aspect not hate i think all of you have been in here and worked with me, and those that may be watching that grew up with me, it's not about hate. and i understand that our heritage with the flag that's out front's been hijacked. it hurts me, it pains me that those outside forces are coming down in a couple of weeks to march here. i don't condone the klan. i don't stand for anything they do. i think it's horrible.
i think that's how we got to this point of this debate and the race issues that has been brought about by them attacking a symbol of the confederacy, using it in the wrong way. but grandaddy billy was wounded at the battle of wilderness. in researching my heritage i didn't know that. that i had a gentleman that sat a row behind me in church at the end of another pew. turned out to be a long, lost relative. and his grandmother wound up with the mini ball that grandaddy billy was wounded with at the battle of wilderness. he still has it. at those days mr. pitts, they didn't have the nice thermal underwear to keep us warm. they wore oil cloth. they would wrap their body in
cloth, with oil, repel the water. keep you warm wouldn't get wouldn't. wool uniforms that would get heavy. the oil cloth actually took the mini ball. that's how we got the mini ball from the civil war. to me it's more about history, my heritage. that's something i pass along to my children. and i have three daughters. which you asked mr. pitts i would not want to go up against them at any point in time either. i think i know why you were speaking to that. they are a force to be reckoned with and they're all beautiful and i love them. we try to teach in the proper way. we don't tell them to do things. and, mr. neil, got a phone call from my wife. we talk daily. it really upset me to the point when president obama was, i think, went on the show and i think i told ms. cobb-hunter
this, and used the "n yt" word. and my 6-year-old madeline, we call little red was sitting there with my wife and said momma, is that like the "b" word? and my wife told me she cringed at that point the "b" word, oh my goodness. she says yes, we'll be in trouble if we say b-u-t-t in this house. it upset my wife to no end that she had to explain to my 6-year-old child what the "n" word was. we don't use that word. obviously we don't use b-u-t-t either. as well as other things because i think that is the way i was raised and that's how we're raising our children. we were raised to respect one another and respect all people. until they give you a reason not to. and i think the state of south
carolina handled the tragedy of the emanuel nine with the utmost respect for each other, which is what we have done. we have shown the world today that's watching through all these cameras and everything else, that we've been silvercivil, and it was proven yesterday i think yesterday with the veto override of a collection for the room. everyone was on board. we can do what's in the best interest of the state of south carolina. that is, show them that we are not what they want us to be. and i'll take questions in just a minute. so i think that is -- that is
what i love about this body. it's what i love about my state. in my district, my constituents are divided on them. they don't know -- i mean, some want the flag up, some want it down. so i think it's something we'll have to do. i've been doing a lot of praying. my preacher has been praying for me a lot of others too, as well as this body. that's what heals us. that's what makes us strong, is the word of the lord. and we don't judge each other. i think harvey pinnic said it best, if you follow golf, that the good lord waits until the end to judge. we should not judge each other at this point in time either. that's up to him. live your life the best and the cleanest that you can and let the good lord judge you in those decisions you made along the way. i always tell folks, if you do make a mistake, you can repent, ask for forgiveness, and it will be granted as long as you are
sincere in your heart about it. but today, with the bronze portion of putting up a bronze flag, i don't know if i can support that or not. and i love my dear issue pitts for trying. but i know there's going to be many other things brought before this body and try to do. i've been voting to any aspect of it. and i think that some folks, and i will agree with some and disagree with others, but to the point that, you know, just take a clean bill. just do what the senate did, governor's saying, don't amend it. get it clean. don't amend it get it clean. i think this is a process. it is our duty to debate. this bill skipped the committee process so this debate will happen on the house floor. so we should debate it, hear everybody out. we do it in a great manner. we're showing the world that's what we will do and that's how we'll take this up.
and i think that is the appropriate thing to do. i actually kind of hate the fact we're debating it on the floor. but it is what it is. that's a sign on my office door. and i believe in that philosophy. at this time, mr. speaker, i will entertain questions. >> mr. neil, recognized for a question. >> thank you, mr. speaker. >> mr. white before you get started, your time -- your first minutes has expired. granted a second ten minutes. >> representative white thank you for sharing your view on the issue at hand. it's been interesting -- did you know it's been interesting to hear the history and the view points that have come to this podium today, all of which have been very interesting. and as we talk about the history of this state, were you aware that when we talk about the african-american monument back here, that we have one person
right here who was a part of the construction and planning of that monument, that person served as vice president of the commission that developed it. >> she may be behind you. >> you know, you might be right. she is. representative cobb-hunter. >> yes, sir. >> and as such -- as someone who's been here since 1993, who watched the evolution of this issue, i'm proud to see this body come to a point where collectively we can talk about -- come to grips with it and do it in a fashion that makes south carolina and the country proud. i think that it's -- that we as a body have the ability to come to grips with this issue, find a solution and make it happen. i appreciate you. >> thank you mr. neal. and i, too have walked the grounds this past week.
believe it or not don't have a whole lot of time to do it, but to that point -- and i've looked although all those monuments. and there were some former representative from anderson, too, that used to be my desk mate and driving mate, mr. neal was also on that commission. and i think there was other members that have gone on. there are senators that are still in the senate that was. and i understand i didn't get to hear -- i was elected in 2000. i missed the first debate. from what i've heard, i'm glad i missed it. but -- and we didn't have all this technology back then either, back in those days. but i think it's something, and i think the point i think we understand is respect. i understand it's offensive to some groups. the groups that hijacked it, i do not like them at all. of course, they may be watching this and they may not be liking me at this point. thank goodness for chief out
there with the threats. and i would probably wager to guess those that are attacking tillman hall that got spray painted this week in clemson, then, of course the flag went up outside of tillman hall right after that. i think it's something -- and i doubt most of those are south carolinians doing those things. these are folks coming in from outside doing these things, like i think a lot of folks got a letter from colorado and we've gotten phone calls from texas and utah and all over the united states, and west virginia, telling us what we should or should not do in the state of south carolina. but i think that's all up to us. some want referendum. some don't. we're going to have that debate here today. but i think it's important on the educational issue that part of it is we need to be -- not a cleansed version of history but the true history on both sides. all of it.
you're exactly right. and, unfortunately, that's not what we're doing. that's what i'm trying to do with my children and they understand it. my daughter said that flag, she says, dad, i don't understand it. it's cloth people are getting upset about. she said, that was a time in history that wasn't very pleasant for the united states of america. i said, no, it wasn't. she said a lot of people died. i said yes, she did. she said they were fighting, some of them, for different reasons. i said, yes, they were. and she said but that was 150 years ago and we don't act like that now. she said, it's important we actually learn from our history and not repeat it. right, dad? i said you got that right. so, i think the point is, trying to educate. and i know we all educate our children and tell them the history and do what we can. and i think that's important, so while we're talking about flags and monuments, we need to be
talking about the educational component that's missing here and be teaching history in the state of south carolina our history, our way, uncensored. folks need to know, and i think they got a good dose of who we are, thanks to the national media. the national media did not like it. that we actually do get along in south carolina and are very hospitable people. and with -- question? >> mr. white, thank you. i just wanted to ask you when you first started talking you alluded to the anderson five or six and the ten that voted against amending the resolution. is that -- i think you -- i think you said that. do you think that if what representative rile was talking about with the senate version of
the bill they sent us do you think that if it was interpreted those flags might come down, those flags are we addressing that issue is that outside the scope of the resolution? >> i don't know about that. i think where you're going with that aspect, i think, is on the last past. we have to remove those if we pass a clean bill, do we have to take all flags down other than the state flag and the u.s. flag? my opinion is, yes. obviously, i don't get to make that ruling, but that's just my opinion. so i mean, that's for whatever it's worth. this piece of legislation would trump, i think the '03 resolution, so -- because we're amending it. that's just like the bung. the budget can amend statute 2 and only suspends it as long as it's in there from july 1 to
july 30. so i think there's many different technicalities and things we do but that's not -- that's brian white's opinion. but i think there's some clerks and others up here that -- >> and i understand you -- >> make a special ruling as to what happened. >> you're not an attorney, i'm not an attorney. >> and i didn't stay at the holiday inn express either. >> but i just wonder if addressing that issue of the veterans flags, is that outside the scope of the resolution that we passed? that's my question. i guess it would be to the chair. >> yeah, you would have to do that up there earlier. >> thank you, mr. white. >> representative white, i want to go back to something you mentioned about history. and i appreciate you bringing that up. and the fact that all of history should be presented. do you believe in the early days, going back to history, that the african-american gets the credit?
because i don't see a lot of it, for their contributions to the early days in agriculture the days of rice and indigo in south carolina and how they brought techniques here? i don't hear much of that. and you're talking about history, it brought that up -- brought that to my mind. is that part of what you're talking about? >> i think it is. it's all history. it should be displayed because, i mean south carolina is unique. i mean, it goes back to the revolutionary wars. south carolina's been pivot every war that we've had back to the founding days of the colonies. i think we go all the way back there, you don't do it -- you know, the neck of the woods where i'm from, you are, too, the old pendleton region up there, buck skin was the number one exporter. it come up with the indians in
the day and basically kill the deer skins, the hide, and ship them. that's history, how that area was settled. charlestonians settled in pendleton. that was their summertime homes up in our neck of the woods. i think there's a lot of history out there. and you just got to get involved with your kids and take them out and do it, because, unfortunately, we have taken education now, mr. loftis and driven it to testing. everything is around testing and numbers and how well we do. not about the content of things like our history in our heads. it's more of other things. and you're funding is predicated on how well you test or you don't test. and i think we've gotten a little off balance with that and we're not teaching the history of the state and how we became the people we are. it's important that we teach it, not relive it. and i think that's the main thing that we need to take out of this debate here that we're
having with the confederate flag, with the history of our state, and the legacy that we choose to leave our children. i think that's very important. i think it's very important to show them that we're doing it in the proper way. we are adults. we're not going to scream and yell and call each other names and have knock down, drag outs. i think it's just something that we're doing a good job and i'm proud to be a member of this body, the way it's displayed itself for this debate. >> mr. sanford, if you'll hold that, mr. cleary. mr. sanford has been patiently waiting. will you withdrawal that tabling motion, mr. cleary? mr. sanford is recognized. >> thank you. ladies and gentlemen of the house, i had not intended to come to this podium today, but i want to tell you a few things
that have not been said from the podium. and i think need to be said. first of all is the decorum in this chamber. i remember very few instances where the person at this podium was listened to as much as we are all doing it today. and i thank each and every one of you for that. we're dealing with a very serious matter. something that we all care a great deal about and probably are coming at from very different perspectives. and i think it's important for us to have this debate. we're not going to all leave here happy with the final
outcome. but when we leave here, i do believe we will leave with a majority vote to do something. and i think that that's critically important. the other thing i want to tell you about was my experience with going to the funeral of senator clementa pinckney. it started off on saturday morning outside the state house with three bus loads of people -- no, six bus loads. about 300 people on board going to charleston with a police escort, and seeing the throngs of people. i don't know any other word to use, but throngs, of people waiting outside of the auditorium there at the college of charleston. the service was to be at 11:45.
thank goodness they had reserved seats because had we not, we would not have had a place to sit. and as we observe that everything was just like it is here, but most decorum nature love charleston was basically closed. very few businesses, if any, were open in downtown charleston. streets were blocked and a lot of things happened. but when we went in to be seated, it was my privilege to sit beside my good friend ms. cobb-hunter. she and i sat there kind of in amazement, wouldn't you say, gilda, at the crowd and the way it was handled. it was a gorgeous service and one of great meaning. and i say that to say this that service epitomized south carolina.
because it showed the nation and the world what true reverence we have for those in our midst who have been taken from us. it was important because it brought not only the senate but the good people, too, together. how many ministers did we have? like 35 on the stage, is what i'm guessing. yeah it was almost too many, ms. gilda, because it really was difficult for someone to make their way across the stage to go to the pulpit. and they decreed that was a church for that day. but i think that in all of this we have become the poster child for how things should be handled without rancor, without violence, without any of those
things. and i guess somebody earlier said it, but i think it's this bless your heart attitude rather than in your face attitude. so, i wanted to share those things with you because i have struggled, i've struggled with this whole issue. i've lost a lot of sleep too. i think all of us have. i've prad a lot about it. i've asked miami son's class to pray for us. with that -- you're asking to ask a question? >> i'd be delighted. >> sure. >> mr. clyburn is recognized for a question. >> thank you. let me mention one quick thing to you. there were a lot of religious leaders -- or there were about 40, and they were all ame bishops. the highest leadership we have
in the church. they were very moved and very proud of the behavior. and they moved the teaching that they have taught through the years ago. and so i appreciate the kind words from you. and i do feel as you do. >> thank you, mr. clyburn. let me say this. some of you don't know it, but there are five members in this body who came in together. mr. clyburn, mr. mr. whipper, mr. howard and mr. limehouse where is chip? you got too big a head i couldn't see it. but i think it's interesting -- you know i think it's interesting though out of a class of 22 we still have five members who serve in this body. and we were here during the time that we debated this somewhat issue in the '99-2000 time
period. so we have been here. and the emotion in this chamber is very much like it was at that time. it is a very emotional issue. thank you for listening to me. i appreciate it. i appreciate what you guys do all of you. >> thank you. pending question is the adoption of amendment 30. representative brown you wish to be heard? representative brown is recognized. >> thank you, mr. speaker. what i'm going to say i was going to say later this afternoon. but brian white stood up here and so eloquently talked about heritage. i have had so many phone calls and so many e-mails about this issue from back home. and i've told the story -- i told it back in 1999, i told it to the charleston post and courier on the 22nd day of june
when they called me and asked me how i was going to vote. i told them a story, and they printed it in the charleston paper. the next day june the 23rd would have been 150 years that my great granddaddy thomas peterson evans, took the oath to support the union. he took the oath from a union army general in kershaw township in south carolina, 150 years ago. he's buried in cedar creek cemetery in lee county. with all that heritage i told the charleston post and courier, i'm willing to take it down. my great-granddaddy died in 1925 1925. he lived with my mother's parents from the time she was
born until he died. 11 years. she was 11 years old. according to my momma and according to him for those soldiers who wouldn't take the oath some of them were shot. in 1999 i brought the actual not a copy of it but the actual document where my great-granddaddy took that oath. when they told their story the cnn "new day" program called me. we'd like to interview you. in fact, i have a copy of it. we took a picture and sent it to new york. and on thursday morning before the funeral on friday morning in
front of the state house, cnn interviewed me about my heritage my family and how i felt about the flag. now, i've got a lot of people who told me back home grady, you vote to take it down. i've never voted against you. but, if this has to be my -- so be it. my momma god bless her soul, she left me all of her confederate memorabilia. she left the document, my great-granddaddy great-granddaddy's confederate money, stamps, a letter from him detailing the information and a letter from her detailing the information, she was an avid member loved the united daughters of the confederacy. but my momma, god bless her soul, would tell me, grady you
need to do what you know is right because i raised you that way. there comes a time in life when you have to say you've got to do what's right. and i know that i have as much heritage as any one in the world. my granddaddy, thomas peterson evans joined the confederacy at age 16. 16 years old. he fought for four years. he met a young lady in brunswick, georgia. her name was emmy gaye. trust me i'm not talking just general information. i know what i'm talking about. after the war was over he went back and he married her.
after many, many years i finally found out who i looked like. i looked like my great grandmother. ladies and gentlemen, there comes a time in our life and i ask my preacher on sunday morning publicly i said, preacher, this is going to be a contentious week in the state house -- i didn't say state house, i said columbia. he stopped me and said grady we will pray for you. i want to thank them for doing that. i want to thank you all for being so kind today. this has just been unreal. but i want my friends back home on both sides of the issue to know that i'm doing what i'm going to do to vote to take the flag down because i think it is
in god's eyes the right thing to do. thank you. [ applause ] >> mr. collins is recognized on the amendment. >> thank you mr. speaker. colleagues, it's looking like i'm not going to be able to vote on this issue, unfortunately for my own self in this regard i have to catch a flight. and i do want to this body and my colleagues to know where i stand on this issue however. this is an important issue for our state. this is a time that we can heal some wounds. i think it's this is the time for us to act. and unfortunately my name is not
going to be green on whatever bill is the ultimate bill that comes out of here, but it would be. i do support removing this confederate battle flag as much as i respect it. it's time for our state to use this opportunity to heal. what's worse than being on one side or the other though is being a no-vote. and before i hope y'all get to take some sort of lunch break i wanted to take an opportunity to say where i stand. and representative brown i'm getting the same phone calls that unlike you however this might be two terms in one for me, my first and last. but just like you this is too important of an issue not to
take a stand. so should i have an opponent next year i want them to be able to have this clip, not use a no-vote against me but to use this clip one way or the other that the flag should come down. understand that there's some amendments to be had. and represent pitts thank you for what you're doing. there is a huge segment of our population that needs a voice, and you're giving them that voice today. i thank you for that. and whether it's replacing it with the south carolina flag whether it's replacing it with the regimenal flag, the only thing i ask this body to do is i'm going to be one of the thousands watching. tomorrow morning i'm going to open up a las vegas sun paper and maybe tomorrow, maybe friday's paper, maybe saturday's paper, maybe sunday's paper, but i hope that i can open up that paper and that we have resolved
this issue in this body. just like having a no-vote is the worst thing you can do on this issue, i think us not addressing this issue and having status quo would be just as horrible. so i hope and i pray for my colleagues. you'll be in my hearts. i hope we come to some consensus and that come tomorrow, come friday, come saturday, come next week, whenever we do come we come together. and i appreciate everything that y'all are doing. i hope i'm speaking for the citizens and the people you represent thank you for sitting here. thank you for representing each of your districts so very well. and y'all are proving that today. so as i leave, i pray for y'all,
let's get this thing done. and thank you. >> have a safe trip mr. collins. [ applause ] >> any questions to the adoption amendment 30 i believe i saw representative brandon first moving to table amendment 30. mr. pitts request a roll call. do nine members second his request? nine do. we'll vote on the board.